How to make it count in Botswana?

tap

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Im really at a total standstill on what Im about to embark upon. I've never really imagined myself spending more money than my budget can reasonably afford on any hunt for myself. However I now find myself in this exact position. Let me give you guys a little background on my situation before I get any replies.

My wife and I decided to attend Reno SCI at last minute this year just to get away from the stress of self employment for a few short days. I already had what I consider and expensive elk hunt booked. In addition I booked a last minute leopard hunt as I felt it may be my last chance to hunt leopards with dogs.

So back to the topic. My wife and I find ourselves wandering the floor of the sci main show. We love shooting the breeze with all the outfitters and dreaming of "one day". On Friday I was off day dreaming when my ph, who was with my wife, phones me and tells me they have a great deal on a cancelation hunt for eland and bongo. I decided to bite on their little game for curiosity sake. I wander over to the booth and find out that a cancelation just occured on a combination eland/bong hunt in the CAR. I could get the entire package for $20,000 off. Since this is my dream hunt Im estatic that my wife would consider such a bold move. I sit and discuss all the details and wander off to think about my decision that night before I decide If I can afford this hunt and how I will pay for it. Well the next day I procrastinated and shot the breezed with more outfitters before I planned to wander over to the outfitter and hand him my hard earned money and sign my life away.

Well in the process of heading to the booth we walk past the chifuti safari booth and my wife saw Ivan Carter standing there. She instantly started begging me to let her talk to him and get some pictures. I decided one last detour wouldn't hurt and that maybe Ivan would be nice and oblige her in her quest to get as many pictures with celebrities as she could. Well one thing leads to another and within 5 minutes Ivan is trying to help me recover from a bad experience I had in Africa last year. He tells me that I need to give him one chance for him to show me what Africa is all about. I told him that from what I've read and seen of him on tv that I think he would definitely be a person I would listen to and give vaule to his opinion. He then tells me he wants to set me up with the greatest opportunity of my life and present me with something that is never going to happen again.

Well next I find myself, my wife Terra, and Ivan sitting around a table talking with Johan Calitz. Apparently 5 minutes before Johan had a cancelation for a trophy elephant for his ng41 block. I've never been one to even consider an elephant hunt as the price is well out of my range and the hunt has never entered my thought process as Im just not the "rich" person who could ever consider an elephant hunt. Within 5 minutes I am brought up to speed that this is the best elephant hunt on the planet and that once my hunt is over that the area will be closed down permanently. They had also relayed a feeling that this hunt would be the most thrilling experience that I will ever embark upon. The excitement level at this point was more than I could imagine. Still I had to say no. Against my better judgement my wife looked at me, pulled a check out of her purse and wrote a check that I'm still hyperventelating over. She didn't give me the option to decide. There was no discussion. She looked me straight in the eye and said you deserve this and your going elephant hunting. This is something I will ever do again. Not only can my resources not afford this but legally this hunt will never be allowed again.

Now here is my real question. I am about to spend more money than I should even consider. Im not going to deny my wife the opportunity to express her gratitude and love and so for this reason I am going and I am going to make the most of it.

Here is my take on what to expect. I'm being told I will see more elephants on this hunt than in anywhere else in the world. It sounds like every single passing minute will be one thats full of excitement and adrenaline. I'm wanting to get the most out of my hunt. Ivan said he would set me up with an "EXPERIENCE" and he did stress the word experinece. Thats exactly what I want. I realized many years ago that I don't like tagging out on any hunt early but that I'd rather enjoy the hunt and the experience and tag out on the last day. I have followed through with this thought and have learned to love my hunts even more. For that reason I decided that my 14 day hunt would be fully utilized. I've discussed with several ph's who have hunted this area. I told them that if my elephant didn't go over 80lbs on the first 12 days that I wasn't going to shoot. after that I would be happy with even a 30lb elephant as I've never seen a wild elephant much less shot one. I told them I would be perfectly content. The responses I got where definitely not what I expected.

Apparently many of the ph's have worked their entire lives to be guides for Calitz in this area. It is personal love of the hunt and pride of a ph that is at stake. They re-iterated that this is THE last time a hunter will ever be in the elephant hunting paradise of the world and that to take a 30 lb elephant would be completely and utterly a let down on the largest scale. THe men I spoke with said this last hunt will be their all out effort and that they want to go out with a bang. So now Im left with the question of what to do on this hunt and how to ensure that the final hunt of the Botswana giant and my first and last elephant hunt is the best it can be. On one hand I want the "EXPERIENCE". On the other hand I'm going to have a ph's passion on the line and my "all or nothing" style may just not be the correct answer in this case. Im thinking that a 70 lb'er on day 5 may be the answer? Or should I hold out for that true monster and let these ph's end their dream on a high note? I'm really not sure what to do here as I have zero background in this area and I have ZERO experience with elephant hunting. Just realize I'm not one who will ever afford something like this again.
 

PaulT

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Tap, as you and veryone else on these threads would appreciate a hunt is much like a Trophy, very much an individuals perspective.

Like you I too may be hunting elephant for the first time this year but for me it will be a management bull purely for the reasons that I cannot afford the "full-monty" Trophy hunt but also because for me personally the hunt in this instance IS THE TROPHY.

My reccomendation to you is to go with the flow and listen to your P.H.
You have booked the absolute crem de la crem of possible Elephant hunts with the most capable and experienced crew.
They will guid you and look after you and try to achieve the very best in terms of experience and result.

Both you and your P.H will automatically know when it is time to shoot !

Congratulations, very best of hunting luck and as his tag line says,
"may the wind stay true for you".

Paul.
 

Diamondhitch

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I say go with your gut AND trust your PH.

It is great for the last Botswana ele to be a monster and for your PH to go out on a high note but in the end it is YOUR hunt not his. Do what is best for YOU, discuss this with your PH and get reasonable expectations but if you want to hunt an80lber and settle for a 30lber at last minute, that is YOUR decision. Your PH should only be involved in this decision in as far as to give you the facts and allow you to choose, if he says you have a 100% or 1% shot at an 80 lber it is Your call to make. Don't let anyone take that away from you.
 

Norwegianwoods

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I say go with your gut AND trust your PH.

It is great for the last Botswana ele to be a monster and for your PH to go out on a high note but in the end it is YOUR hunt not his. Do what is best for YOU, discuss this with your PH and get reasonable expectations but if you want to hunt an80lber and settle for a 30lber at last minute, that is YOUR decision. Your PH should only be involved in this decision in as far as to give you the facts and allow you to choose, if he says you have a 100% or 1% shot at an 80 lber it is Your call to make. Don't let anyone take that away from you.

Totally agree and I must say you are a very very lucky man having a wife like yours tap.
I am sure you will have a great hunt and I am very much looking forward to your report! :)
 

enysse

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I happy for you tap, you have gotten some fine advice already. When the time is right, you will know when to pull the trigger. And in the end the size of elephant won't be remembered as much as "the experience" the people, the land and the hunt for elephant.
 

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Little T is a good match for you.

Unless the hunting gods smile on you and you have a huge Bull walk into you they are going to walk you up to a whole bunch of Elephants to get you "used" to it.
Incredible to be that close to something that can and will stomp you.

One day at a time! See how you feel on the day.

Good luck.
 

Nyati

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I m afraid I cannot give you any advice on that one, but I do wish you the best of luck :thumb:
 

Buff-Buster

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Tap,
Trust your PH and your "gut", as has already been said. After four or five days of getting close....you'll know when you see "the one". Savor every second...your a lucky man.
 

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Congratulations Tap on your wifes decision I can't give you any advise that has not already been given, but I make one request that you come back with a step by step, play by play, minute by minute report as you will be living this dream for alot of us that will never be able to do what you are about to do. Again Congratulations
 

KWALATA SAFARIS

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Tap hope you have a good time enjoy it.

My best always.
 

tap

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I'm glad to hear everyone re-iterate what Ivan told me. He told me he wished to show me the hunt of a lifetime and that is what my wife qued in on and bought. Its still sinking in what I'm about to do and my elation is building every day. It kinda puts a lump in my throat when I think we could have saved that money and nearly paid the remaing balance on our mortgage off or something like that. I cant economically justify what my wife did. What I can justify are the fellings she used to make that decision. Its humbling to realize your wife loves you that much. My stance on this hunt is this. I've been to national parks and refuges here in the states. These are places that the animals your are looking at are everywhere. I always see a few animals that I would give my right arm to shoot. However, since it is not legal to hunt, the experience is only minimal. However, to be able to walk around in a place like yellowstone (or san carlos rez in my case) with an elk tag in my back pocket and a gun in my hand would be nothing short of amazing. I equate this elephant hunt to that.

I simply want to walk around, in what I'm told is elephant heaven, for 14 days. I want to feel the feeling of a trophy bull elephant tag in my back pocket and a rifle in my right hand. I want to feel the excitement of hunting that one true monarach that odds say I will never see. I want to feel that feel of the hunt of a lifetime for the trophy of a lifetime and I want it to last for 14 days. Thats really what I want. Im not really caring about taking an elephant at this point until I have REALY HUNTED an elephant. I just hope the ph's can understand that I want to feel that last bit of history and I want to just soak it all up. I could really care less what I get. I like that feeling of the possibility of a true giant stepping out at any moment with the option of me taking him. Im also just not wanting to let anyone down. Especially the guys telling me this will be the culmination of their elephant guiding career.

Does anyone have any idea on realistic expectations. It sounds like a 60lb'er is considered fairly large and that a 70lb'er shouldn't be passed at any point. If this is the case I want an elephant over 85lbs on both sides if Im going to shoot anything before day 10. After that I just want to walk up on as many bulls as possible. I will gladly go home empty handed if this experience is going to be as good as they say it is.

Thanks for the advice guys. I really appreciate it.
 

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Is Ivan going to be your PH? Or Garth or Johan or?

It is a tough call man. I would hold out and experience as much as you possibly can. At the end of the day I wouldn't pull the trigger on less than 50lbs per side no matter what day and I wouldn't let anything in the 70's walk. But that's just me! Congrats on the hunt you lucky dog!
 

tap

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As of right now I have requested the Johan's son Cobus be my ph. They have agreed to it so for now that's how it will set. Tom I'm just wanting to soak up the hunt. Im not to worried about size right now but I'm sure once the ph's show me what to look for I will figure it out real fast.
 

DOC-404

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Have a good one, tap. Kobus is a sharp PH. Take as many photo's as you can to share with us..!

PS: ..can I pleeeeze have your wife's phone number..:biggrin2:
 

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Tap,

1.) You will be hunting with a super Outfit and will have an experience second to none.

2.) You will get up close to more elephants in Bots than what you could ever imagine.

3.) Trust your PH. He'll know which one to let you shoot - whether that is day 1 or 14.

4.) Congratulations - You and your wife have booked the hunt of a lifetime!!!

Best,
 

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nice selection of hunts coming up tap :beer: i presumed it was after the AH get together the cheque book heated up, as you still looked affluent then ;):biggrin2:
 

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It is a tough call man. I would hold out and experience as much as you possibly can. At the end of the day I wouldn't pull the trigger on less than 50lbs per side no matter what day and I wouldn't let anything in the 70's walk. But that's just me! Congrats on the hunt you lucky dog!

+1.......
Hey Tap,
You never did tell us the "rest of the story".....I assume the Bongo/Eland deal fell thru after booking the elephant hunt?
 

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Be prepared for 50 - 55 if it get better its a bonus, I have hunted with Garth a couple of times and we have always broken 50lbs.

My best always.
 

silverado

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tap
Looking forword to reading your story when you get back after your letter you wrote i'm sure your story of your hunt
is going to be very exciting Good Hunting!
 

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